Training Spatial Ability

  • Howard M. Rhoades


The ability to create a mental image of an object and then to manipulate it mentally has significant practical application in fields such as mathematics, physics, architecture, engineering and design. It is documented that success in these fields is highly predicted by one’s ability to visualize and manipulate objects (e.g. Ghiselli, 1966). Moreover, it is becoming increasingly apparent that spatial skills may reflect important intellectual capacities that cannot be measured verbally. For example, Einstein, through his own accounts, considered his primary thoughts to be visual, not verbal (Hadamard, 1945). This suggests that reasoning need not be entirely verbal in nature. If this is the case, it would be extremely useful to know if training or some other types of experience would lead to improvement of this aptitude. Although many researchers have addressed this question, available evidence does not provide an unequivocal answer. For example, two studies in 1942, one by Faubian, Cleveland, and Hassell, and the other by Churchill, Curtis, Coombs, and Hassell, showed no improvement in spatial tests (relative to a control group) after training in drafting, blueprint reading, and engineering drawing. In contrast, Blade and Watson (1955) did find evidence for the trainability of spatial ability.


Spatial Ability Spatial Visualization Identical Block Direct Training Spatial Test 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard M. Rhoades
    • 1
  1. 1.Rice UniversityHoustonUSA

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